Friday, February 29, 2008

WFB 1925-2008

One might say that the death of William F. Buckley marks the end of an era, but I believe that his era ended some time ago. Like Justin Raimondo, Buckley and National Review had an important influence on my youthful thinking. The influence didn't last and I doubt if I even qualify as a conservative (whatever that means) anymore; but I was once so enamored of Buckley's brand of Cold War Conservatism that I joined the Marine Corps. The only book of his that I still have is his Unmaking of a Mayor, pictured below.

Buckley was a rakish figure at with a command of the (spoken, at least) English language. He was by all accounts (particularly Joseph Sobran's) a gentleman and a good friend; qualities more important than whom one voted for in the last election.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

That's Victory?

Glen Dean has a post at Tennessee Free stating that conservatism isn't dying but reigns triumphant:
It has been 27 years since Ronald Reagan was sworn in, and not only did Reagan transform fiscal policy, and foreign policy, but he transformed modern liberalism. We had eight years of a Democratic President after Reagan, but at no time did that President seek to raise taxes to pre-Reagan levels. Speaking of that President, he was the one that declared “the end of welfare as we know it”. At no time did President Clinton propose price controls or regulation to the extent of the Carter administration. Clinton was also a major advocate of free trade, as evidenced by his signing of NAFTA.

First, I should point out how unfair he is being to President Carter. It was the man from Plains, not Saint Reagan, who was responsible for most of the deregulation of a quarter century ago.

His point is that conservatism has actually "won" because of Democrats aren't planning to restore pre-Reagan levels of taxation, or something. If they have acheived victory, then why have rightwingers been so whiny for the last couple of years? Conservatism is in roughly the same position as liberalism was in forty years ago--it has some acheivements but has bumped up against reality. They are hampered by their feeble response to the failings of their foreign policy and the fact that much of their "free market" ideology has little public support and tax cuts don't even have much resonance anymore.

Dean's declaration of victory shows how much conservatives have scaled back their expectations in recent years. In 2002, the Republicans won a rare midterm victory for the party in power and regained the U.S. Senate. Their big domestic accomplishments were to create the Orwellian sounding Department of Homeland Security and pass an expansion of Medicare. I remember my younger days--when I was a standard issue rightwinger-- salivating at the roll back we could have accomplished with a Republican president and congress. It turns out that when it happens, government expands.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Influence of Dreher . . .

A sign seen on tonight's NBC News broadcast: "Crunchy Cons for Huck." I couldn't see if the sign holder was wearing birkenstocks, but I'm guessing the he was.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sixty-Four Dollar Question

Steve Sailer has an article in the February, 11 issue of The American Conservative explaining the correlation between affordable housing and child rearing and support for the Republicans.

Now if he can only explain what it is about the 2.3 kids and the house in the 'burbs that makes seemingly rational people support aggressive war, environmental degredation, exempting the wealthy from taxation--financed with massive debt passed on to the aforementioned 2.3 offspring and leavened with occasional empty prattle about "family values" and "free markets."